Cast off broken ankle and can't walk

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I broke my ankle six weeks ago and I've just had my cast off I didn't get given a walking boot which I thought I would. I've been referred to physiotherapy but it's like until then my doctor just expects me to start walking again I've tried but I just cant do it not even with my crutches, I just can't bend the back of my ankle to put one foot in front of another. He said I will be able to go back to work in 2 weeks but I just don't think in 2 weeks I'll be able to walk properly and be back to caring for people (I'm a carer in a care home) I just don't know what to do everyone is telling me to just walk but I physically can't.

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Dear Hayleigh

    All I can suggest is that you build up whatever ankle movements are possible however small they might be.

    Cheers Richard

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  • Posted

    Poor you - sounds really tough. I am 4 weeks post surgery but have had boot for last 2 weeks, which has allowed me to get my ankle mobile, when the cast was taken off. Now is the time to be doing lots of exercises- google 'physio rehabilitation leaflets Oxford' and look under Ankle and they show you what to do- certainly helped me. Once you can get your ankle moving then hopefully weight bearing will be easier but first you need to get it flexible. Good Luck! Janey

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  • Posted

    Hi Hayle Ightfield. Sorry to hear you joined the ankle club!! 😢. I'm nearly 13 weeks since my break and I've had 3casts and boot. Now been told to FWB for nearly a week now, but it is so painful. Not everyone goes from cast to a boot. I think if be pens of the type of break. 2weeks free if cat and back to work ad a carer does seem fast fir me. I couldn't see myself going back to your job the way I am at the moment. Ad you are on your feet all day and perhaps lifting? At my physio yesterday I was told the pain and swelling I'm getting is normal so that put my mine at rest. Can't walk without crutches at all. I wouldn't rush back too soon. Ad may put you back. Make sure you ice and elevate as much as possible. Good luck with your recovery. Sx

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  • Posted

    I'm in the same boat as you

    6 1/2 weeks in was told on Monday to know walk again but luckily have been in a boot for last 2 weeks so still have it.

    Don't think I could get my good into a normal shoe anyway

    My consultant gave me a couple of foot exercises to do just to get it moving again whilst waiting for physio to start.

    But not able to walk yet even with crutches either

    I wish you luck

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  • Posted

    That doctor is totally negligent.  You need to go through a progression, first with a walker or crutches, then maybe a cane and then walking.  You need PT to guide you and give you the proper exercises which strengthen your leg muscles as well as your ankle before you can get to full weight bearing.  It's a process that has to be followed rigorously for the best results.  So you'll start with partial weight bearing for quite a bit before you are ready to walk.  Lastly, your doctor should be taking X-Rays to make sure the bone has been fully healed before he tells you that you can put the weight on your ankle.  I had my surgury 18 weeks ago and got a plate and screws and I used a knee scooter for about 10 weeks, then a walker for about 4 weeks, two of which were with the boot on, and have been with a cane for the last 3 weeks. I can walk without the cane as well these last two weeks but if I am out of the house I use it if the terrian is not level or it is late in the day when my foot gets weak and tired.  And I have been going to PT twice a week for the last 10 weeks as well as exercise at the gym most other days. My surgeon had me put a brace on for quite a while if I left the house because he said I would roll my ankle if the ground was at all uneven.

     

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  • Posted

    I'd go back into the ER, tell them you can't put weight on your ankle and demand a walking boot. Or you can order one on Amazon and have it delivered. Your doctor sounds like a dunce!

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  • Posted

    Please take jerry's advice! Make your doctor work for you! Do not allow them to rush you back to work because you definitely don't want to re-injure yourself !! Also try taking a warm bath and do ankle exercises in the tub I am 11 weeks out of surgery and that is what I do. I am still basically nonweightbearing other than allowing to rest my foot on the floor . Your ankle and your muscles are going to take time to rebuild themselves you need to take things slow don't push it . Do some ankle pumps while you are in the bathtub and maybe use a towel to help with resilience it will help to build the muscle and help to stretch things out . Good luck with everything and please whatever you do demand your doctor to work for you if anything request more physical therapy if you haven't had any yet . Maybe some pool therapy would help also that's what I'm asking for .

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  • Posted

    Dear Hayleigh,

    I had to go back and reread your post. I was in disbelief on the face of it.

    Those of us patients who have lived through nightmares of broken ankles and feet know that, as poster Jerry says, proper medical procedure must absolutely be followed during treatment.

    First, a fracture is immobilized by a cast or a CAM boot (we call it moonboot or airboot), usually at attending doctor's preference. At maybe 2 or 3 week intervals a set of x-rays are taken to observe how bone is mending. Usually by the end of 4-6 weeks (could be much shorter or longer than this length of time depending on type, location, and severity of bone breaks) an ankle or foot fracture has healed enough to progress to next phase. This phase entails PWB (partial weight bearing, e.g. putting only 50% of your body weight on the affected foot-- when you are standing evenly on your two feet, for example, each foot bears 50% of your total body weight). Your physician might keep you on 50% PWB for several weeks (still wearing the 'boot' to protect your fragile healing bone). Then by 6-8 weeks (again, this time period can vary wildly due to patient condition, compliance with doctor's instructions, and break severity or surgical complications) your doctor might put you on FWB (full weight-bearing, still in boot) a few weeks more and even instruct you to walk on foot, as pain allows. Crutches or walkers are crucial tools during the PWB and FWB phases.

    Finally, the day arrives when doctor tells you to start wearing normal shoes now. A walking cane can come in handy here because your walking gait and stability are going to be a bit dicey at first. Also, an ankle brace (not a boot) can be worn in regular shoes to protect ankle from respraining or injury. Sometimes an orthotic (shoe insert) may be required if you have damaged tendons that need support.

    Depending on break severity and type, attending physician should be getting you active in physical therapy early when you are in the removable boot so that foot's soft tissue bits (muscles, tendons, fluid capsules, and all the other connective tissues that can get torn, stretched, and inflamed from a fracture/sprain) can be strengthed and stabilized to prepare for normal walking again.

    Bones 'usually' are the most reliable and trouble-free part of healing from foot fractures. It's soft tissue rehabilitation that takes the most time to bring foot function back to normal, and sometimes that requires a lot of PT (physical therapy) ankle exercises for a long time to get lasting benefits. Some people can take up to 12-18 months to get their foot feeling reasonably normal again. Some never recover completely, and opt for repeated remedial surgeries for tendons and ligaments that never healed properly.

    Personally, unless a patient case is totally hopeless, I believe a motivated patient willing to take charge of their recovery and do all the exercises and treatments (conventional and unconventional interventions (like PRP, prolotherapy, Graston technique, PEMF modalities, and many others) necessary to recover will alway do alright in the end.

    Only the one who gives up loses in the end.

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    • Posted

      kpower nailed it.  That's exactly what I have been through.  One thing though about the boot.  The boot is to protect your foot and also to make sure that the ankle is flexed to 90 degrees during the healing process othrwise it will be that much harder to recover range of motion and get walking.  The boot however does not allow your legs to get stronger as they wither away in the boot.  As soon as the bone was healed my doctor did want me taking off the boot and doing PT.  It is important to get out of the boot once you get clearance for FWB. I used a walker first with sneakers just start getting used to the walking motion.  If I went outside he insisted I put a brace on or he said I would roll my ankle if I stepped on n uneven surface. 

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  • Posted

    I had such a great doctor at Kaiser Permanente, so I can't even imagine her putting me thru all the chaos you've been going through. I'm at 11 weeks after surgery and am alternating between my boot and support brace. She only wanted me to start one hour a day (in my condo), and increase it everyday to strengthen my muscles. Thank God, she doesn't have a problem with giving me more pain meds just in case, and is encouraging me to continue my PT. Kpower is right about how easy it can be to injure oneself again. My next-door neighbor broke her ankle last September, and since then has sprained her ankle twice just walking on uneven surfaces. Can you change doctors? Remember that you are a paying client, and deserve to be treated properly.

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